Sr. Adele Marie Altenhofen

Sr Adele Marie Altenhofen
Sister Adele Marie Altenhofen’s ministry has included work as a teacher, principal and Motherhouse administrator. She is currently serving as the president of Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Ministries Corporation, which provides services that support the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon and their sponsored ministries (Valley Catholic School, Maryville and the SSMO Foundation). “I Love You — SO-O-O-o-o-o much!” When I was a youngster, I learned at my mother’s knee to hold a small baby carefully, cupping his or her...

Sr. Agnes Marie Vandecoevering

Sr Agnes Marie Vandecoevering
God is so good, oh so good to me. I had two very religious parents. At night we said the rosary and litany of our Blessed Mother and more prayers.  As a toddler of the age of three or four I remember yelling "pray for us" at each invocation of the litany.  In school as a second grader I wanted to be a sister. Religion was my top subject and I usually won the prizes. I wanted to go to St Mary's...

Sr. Alexa Rebecca Weight

Sr Alexa Rebecca Weight
Sr. Alexa Rebecca Weight, daughter of Erich and Kathi Weight, was born and raised in Olympia, WA as the eldest of three daughters. She moved to Oregon in 2013 to attend Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon where she received a bachelors in History.  Sister Alexa Rebecca recalls her father telling her from a young age that she would be a Sister (comments that made her laugh at the time). When she turned 18 she began to feel the impulse...

Sr. Alison Green

Sr Alison Green
I’ve always been fascinated by sisters and nuns.  When I was a kid I thought, “They have the best job: they have the greatest boss in the universe, and their compensation lasts for all eternity.”  But I never seriously considered applying because I assumed that holiness was a prerequisite. As I grew up I pursued different things (college, jobs, guys) looking for something I could dedicate my life to, but I never really found a good match.  So I finally...

Sr. Angeline Sohler

Sr Angeline Sohler
Reflecting on vocation as I go into my 69th year in religious life, I recognize that God’s call comes at various times and in many ways. The first time for me was at age eight. I was intrigued by the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon who taught catechism classes weekly at our mission church, and I wanted to be like them. Then at age 12, I learned of the Providence Sisters in a hospital setting. Their life was another...

Sr. Anna Nguyen

Sr Anna Nguyen
I was born In Vietnam, and I grew up in a big happy Catholic family with nine brothers and two sisters. I have greatest memories of a happy childhood and bonding time with my family. My parents were devout Catholic people, and they taught my siblings and me to pray in the morning and evening. We attended Mass every day, we were faithful to God, and we had great love and care of each other. We helped the poor and...

Sr. Anne Vandecoevering

Sr Anne Vandecoevering
God is so good, oh so good to me. I had two very religious parents. At night we said the rosary and litany of our Blessed Mother and more prayers.  As a toddler of the age of three or four I remember yelling "pray for us" at each invocation of the litany.  In school as a second grader I wanted to be a sister. Religion was my top subject and I usually won the prizes. I wanted to go to St Mary's...

Sr. Barbara Jean Laughlin

Sr Barbara Jean Laughlin
“My dad was a Catholic and my mother converted at the time of her marriage,” Sister Barbara Jean Laughlin remembers. “In my baby book, mom wrote that I started going to church at 1 & 1/2 years of age. By the time I was 3, I could say the grace before meals alone. By age 5, I had learned all my prayers: Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be and Angel of God. I remember asking for a Sister doll for...

Sr. Barbara Rose Sohler

Sr Barbara Rose Sohler
I persevere in religious life because of my desire and love for God. This strong desire to be close to God has always been my motive for living as a Religious Sister. I felt this very strongly even when I first entered the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon convent long ago. Living in a community of sisters who have the same ideals that I do helps me to be faithful.  Religious life is built on companionship with the sisters,...

Sr. Catherine Hertel

Sister Catherine Hertel
I was born in Hillsboro, Ore. in 1941, the fourth girl to farmers Ray and Agnes Hertel. Our family got bigger and bigger until we were 12 children (9 girls and 3 boys). Religion was very much a part of our daily lives. We prayed the Rosary every evening after dinner. After the last “Amen,” there was always a little competition among the children to ask, “May I pass the candy?” Candy consisted of a jelly bean, or something comparable,...

Sr. Evelyn Schwall

Sr Evelyn Schwall
After nine years in the Loan and Collection Department of the Bank of America and National Trust & Savings Associates, Evelyn Schwall had reached a turning point in her life. She realized that she wanted to follow her grade school desire and enter religious life. She visited communities to decide where she felt called. Finally, she joined her great aunt, Mother Juliana Hermens, and her older sister, Alberta, in the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon. After entering the Convent,...

Sr. Charlene Herinckx

Sr Charlene Herinckx
How is it that I entered the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon? You could say I slipped in the back door when no one was looking! I was raised in a small rural Catholic community where the SSMOs had begun teaching in 1912 at St. Francis School in Roy, Oregon. Thus the Sisters taught my parents, aunts and uncles, siblings, cousins and in some cases, my nieces and nephews. Small wonder I could so easily come in the back...

Sr. Jean Marie Van Dyke

Sister Jean Marie Van Dyke
The life and ministry of Sister Jean Marie Van Dyke: In her own words March 14, 1939, just could not wait to welcome me as a new member of the human race. I, Joanne Theresa Van Dyke, was born prematurely to Theodore Matthias and Petronella Vandehey Van Dyke in Verboort, Oregon, at the home of John and Constance Hermens Van Dyke. On March 17, Joanne Theresa was baptized at Visitation Catholic Church by Father Jonas. I came into the world...

Sr. John Therese Miller

Sr John Therese Miller
My pathway toward the goal of following the Lord was not always rose-strewn, but I believe that our loving God has accompanied me every step of the way. I grew up in a good family, but one totally without religion because my parents had an intense dislike for organized religion in general, and the Catholic Church in particular. Since I was younger than the required age to start school in 1944, my mother falsified my age on the registration form;...

Sr. Josephine Pelster

Sr Josephine Pelster
Josephine Pelster was born the fifth of nine children to Norbert and Louise (Unger) Pelster of Vernonia, Oregon. Her faith-filled parents frequently prayed for vocations to the religious life. After experiencing the prayerful, joy-filled presence of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon as they taught Religious Vacation School (CCD), Josephine was attracted to dedicating her life to God. She entered the Sisters of Saint Mary of Oregon on Sept. 8, 1965. Sister Josephine found joy in ministry while being a...

Sr. Joyce Barsotti

Sr Joyce Barsotti
How does any significant relationship begin? When asked to share my vocation story, I realized that our vocations are always part mystery, part history. Our reality is an invitation as well as a response. The invitation I first heard was from our parish priest when I was about 10 years old. Our pastor, Father Gerace, was explaining to the congregation that we should foster religious vocations in our parish if we expect to have Sisters serving in our midst. I...

Sr. Juana Gutierrez

Sister-Juana-Gutierrez
I am Sr. Juana Gutierrez, the fourth child of Rafael Gutierrez and Rosa Mares. I have three brothers and six sisters, whom I dearly love. I grew up in Ocotlan, Mexico, and I came to the U.S.A. in 1992. I was very involved with my friends in the youth group at St. Alexander Parish in Cornelius. Through one of my friends, I met Sr. Ina Marie Nosack, SSMO, who encouraged me to make a discernment retreat weekend at the Motherhouse....

Sr. M. Juanita Villarreal

Sr Juanita Villarreal
How is it that I persevere in my religious vocation and in living in a convent with many Sisters? First, perseverance is a good word to describe anything that we do for which we feel a strong  calling.  I am the sixth child of José and Juanita Villarreal and one of eleven children.  I was born on July 23rd in Asherton, Texas.  Being the middle of eleven children was a task which required a great deal of perseverance. I was...

Sr. M. Juliana Monti

Sr Juliana Monti
Sr. M. Juliana Monti was a 2013 Jubilarian of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon. For the majority of Sister’s 49 years of teaching in the Valley Catholic schools, she also served as Fine Arts Chairperson and as Music School Chairperson.  In 2012, the Beaverton Arts Commission honored Sister Juliana and the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Music Program as “Performing Arts Educator of the Year.” Sister Juliana shared her thoughts about the journey that brought her –...

Sr. Julie Doan

Sr Julie Doan-1
Everything is a gift from God I was born and raised in South Vietnam in a family of ten. I was taught by religious sisters from different orders in Vietnam. The stories of the saints they shared at catechism classes inspired me. I learned choir singing and liturgical dances from them. Whenever I came to the sisters for a piano private lesson, I liked to stay and help them with little chores. I fasted and attended daily Mass right after...

Sr. Krista Von Borstel

Sr Krista von Borstel
A life is a tremendous gift and I want to make the most of it for God I’m Sister Krista von Borstel, I consider myself a CCD Vocation! Today it is known as Religious Education. Picture this, 1965, rural North Central Oregon. Twelve miles south of Grass Valley, 4 miles West of Kent. We were not in the middle of no where but we could see it from where we lived! I was in the third grade when the Sisters...

Sr. Marcella Parrish

Sr Marcella Parrish
Sr. Marcella Parrish: In her own words When I was four, my family moved into town from a logging camp. We had been living in a large log cabin with an outhouse, one of hour electricity per day, and lots of space for my older brother and me to explore. Shortly after moving, I went with my mother and brother to register him for first grade at St. Mary’s School in Stayton. We met with Sister Theresa Margaret and, being...

Sr. Marianne Giesel

Sr Marianne Giesel
I have no recollections from my youth of wanting to be a Sister. I have no knowledge that people were praying that I would be a Sister. I’ve come to the conclusion, though, that it was meant to be, through providence, prayers, and positive forces. When I looked back into my family’s heritage, I learned that my mother’s relatives were certainly drawn to religious life! My Uncle Joseph died of pneumonia during his seminary training. My Aunt Madeline was in...

Sr. Marie Bernadette George

Sr Marie Bernadette George
My family lived in Holy Cross Parish and it was in the sixth grade that I first thought about becoming a Sister. Sr. Baptista, a very charismatic religion teacher, seemed to be on fire with the love of God.  She inspired her students with her loving example.  With that same love, the girls would make visits to the church at recess, noon hour and after school just to be with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. My family was very religious.  We...

Sr. Marilyn LeDoux

Sr Marilyn LeDoux
Sister Marilyn LeDoux: In her own words During Lent of my eighth grade at St. John the Baptist School in Milwaukie, Oregon, we went into church on Friday afternoons for Stations of the Cross. I received my vocation (call) during one of those spring afternoons while being distracted by the bright sunshine and feeling like I wanted to be outside. God had other plans. That year, some of my companions and I came out to see this large convent in...

Sr. Mary Ann Hathaway

Sr Mary Ann Hathaway
Sr. Mary Ann Hathaway: In her own words I have always had the desire to be a Sister, even in my youth. We’d play dress up and Mom had made me a religious dress and veil. I attended a couple of high schools conducted by the Sisters of the Holy Names in Portland. In my sophomore year, I mentioned to one of the Sisters that I wanted to become a Sister. No response. In my junior year 1946, I became...

Sr. Mary Ellen Hanson

Sr Mary Ellen Hanson
As the firstborn in a Catholic family with three children I experienced love, stability and early formation in the faith.  My mother was of a lifelong Catholic family while my father celebrated five Sacraments at the time of their marriage at St. Francis Mission, South Dakota.  I was born in Valentine, Nebraska, and baptized three weeks later at St. Bridget Church on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, Rosebud, South Dakota. At the age of three I made my first move of...

Sr. Michael Francine Duncan

Sr Michael Francine Duncan
The first Sister of St. Mary of Oregon I met was Sr. Joyce Barsotti. She was hosting an evening retreat, “Come and See,” at St. Vincent Parish in Salem, Ore. It was in March, very rainy, and I was the only person to show up for the retreat. It was very intimidating for me to be the only one to attend with five Sisters whom I just met for the first time. I trusted God to know what was good...

Sr. Patricia Lulay

Sr Patricia Lulay
I am from a family of nine brothers and sisters. We grew up surrounded with women religious and priests at our family gatherings. I grew up in a very solid Catholic family in a very Catholic small town, Sublimity. Sister Beatrice asked our third grade class “who would like to be a sister or priest”? Three of us raised our hands and we had our picture taken on the front steps of the St. Boniface Convent. That is my first...

Sr. Patricia Marie Landin

Sr Patricia Marie Landin1
One day at Providence Medical Center, where I ministered as a chaplain, one of the nurses said: “I want Sister Patricia Marie to pray for me. After all she belongs to the Lord Himself, and He to her.” I was humbled and gratified to God for that statement and it gave me confidence that the Lord and I are doing something right in being a witness to love and service to and for others. As I begin to share my...

Sr. Paula Fox

Sr Paula Fox
Sr. Paula Fox: In her own words The seed of my call to follow Christ as a religious Sister, I believe, was the admiration and love I had for the Sisters who taught me in grades one through 10. I was inspired by the cheerful way they lived a very sacrificial life of work and prayer. My mother’s deep faith nurtured my love of my faith. In the years that followed, I experienced powerful opposition to my being a religious...

Sr. Rita Watkins

Sr Rita Watkins
How did I, a little girl from North Dakota, arrive at the doorsteps of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon? God led me in a subtle way. I didn’t know the Sisters until I was in fifth grade. We had moved to Oregon and I met the Sisters of St. Mary for the first time when my parents enrolled us in St. John’s School in Milwaukie. It still wasn’t until sixth grade when I had Sister Pulcharia as my...

Sr. Rita Rose Stohosky

Recently a poster was put up in our Convent with the following message. “God and I make a great team. I know where I have been and He knows where I am going.” I enjoyed it because it explains a lot of what I want to say about myself and my religious vocation. I experienced a desire to become a sister when I was in the sixth grade. It just grew stronger as I grew older and I could hardly...

Sr. Rose Mary Heineck

Sr Rose Mary Heineck
I grew up in a family in which the Catholic faith was very important. We prayed the rosary every evening. We attended Mass every Sunday as well as Lenten devotions, Forty Hours Adoration and the parish missions. My parents were very devout. One day my older sister Mary, age nine, said to me, “Do you know that God is the greatest in the whole wide world?” In great awe, I thought that since God is so great, I wanted to...

Sr. Rosina Pham

Sr. Rosina Pham
Looking back on all the countless graces I have received from our Lord, I am amazed that day after day I am continuing to receive grace after grace. Getting to know the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon was one of the greatest graces I received from the Lord. I definitely recognized God’s call as I started my journey in the Religious Life many years ago, and I more clearly recognized it when I came to one of the “Come...

Sr. Ruth Etzel

Sr Ruth Etzel
It is not hard for me to believe in personal miracles when I think of my call to religious life. At the time of my growing up, the family lived on a farm and we had no near neighbors. That meant work, play and social life was mostly done at home. Our parish had religious education on Sunday after Mass. Since I had an older sister, I went to class with her when I was 4 years old. Sister Justina,...

Sr. Ruth Frank

Sr Ruth Frank
Many people inspired me to consider religious life: my parents; my aunts, Sr. Marcine Frank, SSMO, and Sr. Ruth Frank, OSB; my great aunt, Sr. Antonina Lulay, SSMO; and my uncle, Fr. Clement Frank, OSB. I heard God’s call to religious life many times while attending first- through eighth-grade at St. Boniface School in Sublimity, Ore. My first-grade teacher, Sr. Rosalita Kramer, SSMO, exuded energy and a wonderful sense of humor. First Holy Communion was a huge event. We attended...

Sr. Sara Goggin

Sister Sara Goggin is the daughter of John and Dorothy (Doggett) Goggin. She was born in Townsend, Montana. She first encountered the spirit and spirituality of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon at Holy Cross School (Portland, Oregon) where she was graced by the influence of Sr. Clare McCann, Sr. Loretta Merzenich, Sr. Noreen Orazio, and Sr. Ina Marie Nosack. Graduation from St. Mary of the Valley (Valley Catholic) was followed by her entrance into the Sisters of St....

Sr Thanh Pham

Sr Thanh Pham
I was born and raised in a Catholic family. When I was 13, my family migrated from Vietnam to the US to reunite with my grandparents. Ever since I was young, I have been involved with all the activities in my parish. But, the changes between the two cultures were a challenge for me when I first moved to the U.S. Although it was hard to adapt, my faith did not falter, thanks to my family who always showed me...

Sr Theresa Hathaway

Sr Theresa Hathaway
In her own words Until I was 16, I never had any desire whatsoever to become a Sister. I always dressed up in high heels, jewelry, and long dresses – and I liked boys. I attended grades 6 to 8 at St. Ignatius in Portland and St. Mary of the Valley during my freshman and sophomore years. In 1950, during a January retreat for the girls, I was coming out of chapel in the small hallway and experienced an overwhelming...

Sr. Theresa Ann Bunker

Sr Theresa Ann Bunker
Sr. Theresa Ann Bunker: In her own words I was born November 5, 1933. My birth was to take place at our home in Dayton Prairie, Ore., but my mother and I were in trouble. So the attending physician ordered an ambulance and we were taken to the McMinnville Hospital. My parents prayed to St. Therese of Lisieux— “the Little Flower”— for both of us. If I lived, they promised to name me Theresa. My middle name was Ann, after...

Sr. Theresa Lan Nguyen

Sr Theresa Lan Nguyen
I was born in what was then South Vietnam. When I was a child, I had many opportunities to practice and grow up with a Christian spirit. At that time, I didn’t have a deep knowledge of God’s love, but He led and helped me to slowly become aware of His love. My mother always supported and encouraged me to be a Sister. There were many convents around the place where I lived. Therefore, I could easily imagine what it...

Sr. Thuy Doan

Sr. Thuy Doan
I was born and grew up in Vietnam. My family came to the U.S. as political refugees in 2002. I have been asked this question many times: “Why did you choose religious life?” At each stage of my life, I have had a different answer according to my experience of living in a religious community. As a young 18-year-old girl, I thought that choosing religious life might provide a better education. After I made my first vows, I realized that...

Sr. Colleen Schmitt

How did I end up here? That’s the question I ask myself as I ring the bell for Angelus or mop the sacristy floor in the chapel or wipe the last cleaned dish from dinner. I’ve only lived in Oregon since 2008 and had never known a SSMO Sister before 2013. In February 2014, at age 43, I left my career as a psychology research project director and entered the SSMO convent as a postulant. Was this a midlife crisis?...

Sr. Clare Vandecoevering

Sr Clare Vandgcoevering
God is so good, oh so good to me. I had two very religious parents. At night we said the rosary and litany of our Blessed Mother and more prayers.  As a toddler of the age of three or four I remember yelling "pray for us" at each invocation of the litany.  In school as a second grader I wanted to be a sister. Religion was my top subject and I usually won the prizes. I wanted to go to St Mary's...

Sr. Delores Adelman

Sr Delores Adelman
Growing up on a farm in Gervais, Delores Adelman couldn’t have envisioned the path that ultimately brought her to the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon – a path that has blended service in education and care for the body and the spirit. Her own education took her to Marylhurst College, Portland State University and then the Oregon School of Massage. She was a teacher at schools including Sacred Heart in Tillamook, Holy Trinity in Beaverton, St. John in Milwaukie,...

Sr. Denise Klaas

Sr Denise Klaas
Somewhat like St. Paul, I got knocked off my horse on my way to a career in music performance and a happily married life! It’s not that I never thought about religious life, especially after two Holy Cross Sisters in my grade school asked me when I was in junior high if I would consider the possibility of becoming a Sister. I gave the idea some thought and put it on the back burner – way back burner! I finished...

Sr. Elizabeth Sohler

Sr Elizabeth Sohler
I was born in North Plains, Oregon, and attended a nearby one-room public school with about 15 students. Our parish, St. Edward’s in North Plains, was a mission of St. Mary’s Home for Boys; and each Sunday a priest came, bringing two Sisters of St. Mary to teach catechism after Mass. The Sisters also conducted a summer school at the parish for two weeks. I was twelve years old when our family moved to Verboort, where I expected to attend...

Sr. Diana Jean Neumayer

Sr Diana Jean Neumayer
When asked about her call to religious life, Sister Diana Jean Neumayer commented, “I drove by the Motherhouse building of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon every day and I was intrigued by what might be inside. The beautiful building seemed to call to me.” She added, “For several months I read the advertisement about discernment retreats and would always have reasons why it wasn’t possible. Then came that weekend that I had nothing else to do and no...

Sr Ellen Therese Berger

Sr Ellen Therese Berger
In my senior year in high school I decided it would be a good idea to start reading the Bible. I went to a public school and I had a thirst for more spirituality in my life. I read the Bible for a time but then I felt a call to religious life, I immediately put away that Bible. I did not want to hear that call. It was not what I had planned for my life. I wanted to...

Sr. Elma Heesacker

In her own words: Sr. Elma Heesacker I remember hearing the call to religious life at a very early age. I had transferred from public school to a Catholic school – St. Francis of Assisi in Roy. I was at St. Francis of Assisi School from a double grade – taking second and third grade classes at the same time – through eighth grade. For me, this was a true sign of God‘s love, care and compassion, help, and guidance. I was...